Archive for September, 2021

bad religion

September 22, 2021 2 comments

Bad religion has always favored escape, passivity, irresponsibility. By dint of fixing one’s eyes on heaven above, one does not see what takes place on earth here below.

The upward-looking must come to an understanding with the forward-looking.

We believe that our God (up above) calls us to go forward. Our faith in an absolute does not immobilize us in contemplation, but invites us to discover him according to our means of creating a world inspired by his love: a world where justice dwells and where people love one another.

—From “In the Christian Spirit” by Louis Evely

I think I’ll just leave this right here. We’re a long way from what Evely is talking about. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Some days it feels like we have forfeited the right to use the term “Christian” when identifying ourselves. What about us is “as” the Christ i.e. a universal love and acceptance of even the most undeserving? —MDP

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bone dry

September 2, 2021 6 comments

I call to you, O Lord, from my quiet darkness. Show me your mercy and love. Let me see your face, hear your voice, touch the hem of your cloak. I want to love you, be with you, speak to you and simply stand in your presence. But I cannot make it happen. Pressing my eyes against my hands is not praying and reading about your presence is not living in it.

But there is that moment in which you will come to me, as you did to your fearful disciples, and say, “Do not be afraid; it is I.” Let that moment come soon, O Lord. And if you want to delay it, then make me patient. Amen.

—From “A Cry for Mercy” by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Have you ever found yourself in such a condition that you know your inner capacities to be “bone dry?” The sheer humanness of Nouwen’s prayer is something I think we can all identify with. There are times and seasons where we feel our “emptiness”—our parched thirst for something beyond the daily spiritual tap water we live on.

I see our selfies. I realize there are times when our disciplines keep us “afloat,” especially when, emotionally, we feel like bobbing corks existing in our own isolated and unnoticed ponds. The truth is that we usually trust our disciplines because they lift us up more than we consciously validate.  But there are times when we just can’t find the handle to refreshment and living water. Another reading… another poem… another chapter… another study… another verse doesn’t do it. That’s when the “quiet darkness” settles in, and we must wait in silence for the only thing that will bring us back into the ebb and flow of life: Presence and Voice.

“Do not be afraid; it is I.” See, there it is. That Presence and Voice… coming to us… speaking to the thing that has shriveled our flesh and infected our bones with paralyzing fear. Nouwen suggests that “ramping up” our religious activities might actually be counterproductive. Like tired little hummingbirds, we must wait patiently and settle down into the darkness until the Light reveals where the true nectar of life resides. —MDP

Here’s another prayer for you to wear today. These are not my words… they come from a spiritual daughter.  Feel the wind as you pray:

I pray that as you call out to the Lord from quiet darkness, He would show you His mercy and His incredible love for you!  I pray you would see His face, hear His voice, and touch the hem of His cloak. I pray you would feel His presence, know that you ARE living in it, and be at complete peace. Amen!

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